In Australia where I live, if you order something online it gets delivered by Auspost, if the item is large sometimes you have to be at the house to collect, if you are not there the courier leaves a card which you can use to go to the post office and pick the item up from there, is it the same in America?

We are staying at an Airbnb house but won't be in the house that often, will someone just leave a card?

  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about postal services, not travel. Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 19:42
  • d262ilb51hltx0.cloudfront.net/max/2000/… Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 22:33
  • @DavidRicherby how does this differ from travel.stackexchange.com/q/7904/4188 which is open?
    – user4188
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 23:50
  • @chx I've stated why I believe that this question should be closed. That doesn't require me to go hunting for every other similar question that maybe should also be closed for the same reason. However, since you ask, the question you link explicitly asks if a particular service is available to travellers. This question is just what happens in the US when somebody tries to deliver a parcel when there's nobody home. Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 0:23
  • If you know who the carrier is going to be sometimes you can sign up for an account (like FedEx) and tell them to hold it at the local office or have it delivered elsewhere. Sometimes you also have ability to get updates--arrived at local post office, out for delivery, etc.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 1:16

2 Answers 2


It very much depends on the carrier (US Postal Service, FedEx, United Parcel Service/UPS), any instructions by the purchaser/sender (leave at the door, get a signature), and the location layout (outside steps/porch, lobby mailbox, inside foyer door).

Most online vendors offer multiple shipping options, and costs, so that you can figure out when an order will be delivered, and by what carrier. Should it be the postal service, you can let your post-person know, leave a note, or tell them you'd prefer to pick it up at the post office if you're not there. UPS has the infamous ring-and-run, hitting the doorbell, dropping the package at the door, and dashing off before you can respond. It can be the least preferable, if your delivery point is not in a safe location (front steps of home on a city street).

And, quite often, neighbors can be asked to take in large packages, and are happy to do so. If a notice is left at the door, you'd have to make your way to the carrier location (post office, UPS depot, etc.).


It comes down to how the package was sent--and that is likely based on their experience with your neighborhood or your address.

Amazon sends me stuff without a signature being required (I haven't heard of any packages going missing in our neighborhood and Amazon once shipped a cancelled order that sat outside for 10 days untouched) and it makes no difference what the size is.

I have found a bundle of garden stakes taller than my wife leaning next to the door and I have found a collection of boxes that added up to something like 20 ft^3 stacked in the same place. Smaller stuff is generally placed in a position with less visibility (but more open to the weather, not that that is a big factor here).

There are neighborhoods in which I'm sure Amazon would not do that, though. Other than asking the host I have no idea how you would know how it's going to ship.

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